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An Interview with Linda Nochlin

posted by June 08, 2017

CAA is proud to launch CAA Conversations, our newest initiative for fostering academic discussions about art and its purpose through conversations with diverse scholars and practitioners from our community. Every month, executive director Hunter O’Hanian will interview a notable scholar or artist who is making or has made progressive change in his or her field, with the goal to not only learn more about their craft, but to understand the artist or scholar behind it.

Our first interview in this series is with renowned feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, a long time CAA member and author of the pioneering essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” We caught up with Linda at her home on the Upper West Side, where art and inspiring works lined every wall of her apartment. Read the full conversation below (or click the video!) to hear Linda recount the early beginnings of her career, her thoughts on feminism then and now, her advice to young scholars, and a sneak preview of her upcoming book, Misère.

A friend…left me Off Our Backs… I stayed up all night reading and I was a feminist the next day.
Hunter O’Hanian: Hello, my name is Hunter O’Hanian, and I’m the Director of the College Art Association. I’m here today with Linda Nochlin. Hello Linda.
Linda Nochlin: Hello.
Hunter O’Hanian: How are you?
Linda Nochlin: I’m okay.
Hunter O’Hanian: You’ve been a member of CAA for a long time. It’s great to have this opportunity to chat with you. Let’s talk a little bit about your background. I know you grew up here in New York, in Brooklyn. You earned degrees from Vassar, Colombia, and NYU. You taught at Colombia, Vassar, Yale. You’ve won many awards from CAA. Most recently you won the 2006 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for writing in art. I know you’ve won a Guggenheim Fellowship. I know you’re a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. You’ve got an honorary doctorate from Harvard. A lot of it’s really been about what you’ve been doing as far as thinking about, writing about, teaching about art. What brought you to art?
Linda Nochlin: I was always interested. When I was a little kid, I liked to paint and draw. I was very much encouraged to paint and draw both by mother and by my school. Being in New York, I had all these museums. There were a lot of other people who were interested in art that were around me, that were my friends. It seemed sort of natural to go to museums. I enrolled myself when I was 12 in the class for talented children at the Brooklyn Museum. A very interesting place.
Hunter O’Hanian: You enrolled yourself you said?
Linda Nochlin: I went with a portfolio and they said, “Come on.”
Hunter O’Hanian: Great.
Linda Nochlin: I was always interested in art, music, dance. I loved to dance. The arts.
Hunter O’Hanian: Apart from your writing, have you been drawing and making work through your adult life as well?
Linda Nochlin: No, I quit.
Hunter O’Hanian: How come you quit?
Linda Nochlin: Well, I don’t know. I just got interested in writing about it rather than making it.
Hunter O’Hanian: You have a very long history of publishing. There’s certainly a lot of work that you’ve done with Realism and Courbet. What attracted you to that particular period and that particular genre?
Linda Nochlin: Probably it was political I think. It was during the McCarthy period that I came to maturity. I went to the Institute. I really wanted to work on something that was anti-McCarthy. That was left. I was a person of the left and Courbet was the ideal subject in that.
Hunter O’Hanian: Tell me about what you remember of the McCarthy era and what was going on at the time and how artists and writers were dealt with.
Linda Nochlin: It really was a very oppressive period for people in intellectual and artistic pursuits. Even if they didn’t come and get you, that was always a threat lying over. I remember I began my Frick talk with a long quotation from Karl Marx. People were dumbfounded. I remember my teacher said, “Linda, you’re so brazen.” It was scary times.
Hunter O’Hanian: Watching the news today, do you see any similarities?
Linda Nochlin: No. I think it’s a different thing now. It’s scary in a different way, but you can say what you want. Unless you’re in government. I think it is a different take. It’s not good and it’s not pleasant, but I think it’s different.
Hunter O’Hanian: I noticed…. I’ve read that you said you were introduced to feminism in the late 1960s. You were probably in your 30s at that time. You wrote that you became a feminist virtually overnight. Tell me about that.
Linda Nochlin: I had been in Italy in ‘68, ‘69. I came home and a friend came with all these publications and said, “Do you know about feminism”? It was called the women’s movement. I said, “No.” She said, “Read this.” She left me Off Our Backs and rather the somewhat crude broadsheets of the early feminist movement. I stayed up all night reading and I was a feminist the next day. Certainly I always had been to some degree, but I could see now I could become formally as part of an organization, as part of a movement. Yes, I was a feminist.
Hunter O’Hanian: Do you see the movement alive today?
Linda Nochlin: Mm-hmm [affirmative] yes. But, of course, a lot of people I know happen to be feminists. I don’t know how alive it is otherwise. I think it still is.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting. I meet a lot of male feminists, too, which back in the beginning of the movement….
Linda Nochlin: It would be unheard of.
Hunter O’Hanian: It would be unheard of for a man to say he was a feminist. Now there’s many of us who are actually happy to say that.
Linda Nochlin: You think of the Women’s March after the inauguration this year. It was enormous. Enormous. Not every one of those people might be a self-pronounced feminist, but they’re all feminists in the sense that they gathered together to show that they believed in something and were against other things.
Hunter O’Hanian: Of course there’s the essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” that you wrote in 1971. I think ARTnews published that?
Linda Nochlin: Yes.
Hunter O’Hanian: First of all, tell me about the title. How did you end up with that title? Why have there been no great women artists?
Linda Nochlin: I was at a Vassar graduation the year before and I think … I can’t remember who it was. He had a gallery. He was a well known gallerist. He said, “Linda, I would love to show women in my gallery, but why are there no great women artists?” I started really thinking about it and one thought followed another. It almost wrote itself. It seemed all so hitched together, so logical.
Hunter O’Hanian: You address the question in the beginning of the essay about how many great artists there are regardless of their gender, the fact of what actually makes a great artist. Talk a little bit about that.
Linda Nochlin: I refuse to say it’s something inborn, a golden nugget I would say, but artistic greatness, artistic production depends so much on time, place, situation, etc. It was no accident that up through the Renaissance, even the 18th century that artists came in families. Father artists, mother artists. You think of the Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach family, family practice.
What advice would I have for [young scholars]? Be very, very smart. Write a lot. Have a strong opinion. Just don’t be a little library worm.
Hunter O’Hanian: You write in here “The problem lies not so much with some feminist concept of what femininity is, but rather with their misconception shared with the public at large of what art is with the naïve idea that art is the direct personally expression of individual, emotional experience, a translation of personal life into visual terms. Art is almost never that. Great art never is.”
Linda Nochlin: Well that says what I mean. It always takes place within a context, within a setting, certain training, certain standards. What might be considered great art in one period might not be in others. It’s interesting. There’s a certain agreement in the Renaissance. They knew it was Raphael Michelangelo, etc., very little question.
Hunter O’Hanian: You also write here, “the fact of the matter is that there have been no supremely great women artists as far as we know.” I’m happy you added that in, “as far as we know,” although there have been many interesting and very good ones who remain insufficiently investigated or appreciated.
Linda Nochlin: I think that’s been corrected to a certain extent today.
Hunter O’Hanian: Tell me about the ones who have been discovered or investigated.
Linda Nochlin: I suppose Artemisia Gentileschi would be a primary one. Who else?
Hunter O’Hanian: What about women artists in the latter part of the 20th century or beginning part of the 21st century?
Linda Nochlin: I think women artists have definitely caught up as leaders, as being the interesting ones making art and so on. I’m thinking of somebody like Joan Jonas, for example. I’m thinking of somebody like Louise Bourgeois.
Hunter O’Hanian: I was just going to ask you about Louise.
Linda Nochlin: Obviously.
Hunter O’Hanian: Judy Pfaff
Linda Nochlin: The list itself is so long. I’m not saying they’re all Michelangelo, but I’m personally not a Michelangelo person. They’re really interesting and dynamic and have changed the way we look at art, which I think is important.
Hunter O’Hanian: I guess it’s in part because society has allowed them to some degree to be able to do that.
Linda Nochlin: Yes, of course. They had to fight for it, too.
Hunter O’Hanian: Of course. One last quote that I thought was interesting. There’s so much of this essay. I hadn’t read it for years. It’s just so dense. It so wonderful.
Linda Nochlin: It is. I tried to squeeze a lot in.
Hunter O’Hanian: You say “most men despite lip service to equality are reluctant to give up the natural order of things in which their advantages are so great. For women, the case is further complicated by the fact that unlike other oppressed groups or castes, men demand of them not only submission, but unqualified affection as well.”
Linda Nochlin: It’s sort of hard. Say in terms of color, nobody demands that black people love and adore and cater to white people. It’s only gender that does that. It’s very confusing if on the one hand there is somebody you love, live with, etc., yet who is part of a group or caste that is really denying you equality and denying you self-expression. It’s confusing to put it mildly.
Hunter O’Hanian: As we said, we have made progress….
Linda Nochlin: I think so.
Hunter O’Hanian: But how much progress to do you think that we’ve made? How tough do you think it is for a young woman, 30 years old, starting out today?
Linda Nochlin: I think it’s undeniably better. The conditions are better for a woman succeeding, and a lot of the major artists now certainly are women, but there’s still a boys’ club feeling about certain types of art and certain types of artists. I think you know equality has gone so far and no further maybe.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting when you think about it in the sense that we think women have had the right to vote for 100 years, but still they don’t get paid the same wage. It’s been 135 years since the Emancipation Proclamation has been signed.
Linda Nochlin: No, it isn’t just done by words or by the progress of a few superstars either.
Hunter O’Hanian: Switching gears, but also on this one a little bit, obviously you’ve been involved in the academy and artistry for many, many years. What is your sense about the future for people graduating out of a master’s programs or PhD programs and getting jobs in higher education today? What do you think about that?
Linda Nochlin: I think it’s a difficult market as far as I can see. Although there are now galleries and museums throughout the country. It’s not just a question of the east coast and the west coast and Chicago. I think there is a sort of spreading, or a spread of art which allows for some jobs, but being an artist is tough no matter how you take it. I think it’s getting ahead, finding a gallery, getting a proper amount of publicity, making sure you show. It’s hard.
Hunter O’Hanian: What about for scholars, for those getting their PhD about being able to move their careers along? What advice would you have for them?
Linda Nochlin: What advice would I have for them? Be very, very smart. Write a lot. Have strong opinions. Just don’t be a little library worm.
Hunter O’Hanian: It seems your strong opinions have done you well for your career.
Linda Nochlin: I wouldn’t know how to not have them if you know what I mean. That’s what I’m about is my opinions. You have to know something. Frankly I know a great deal. There are very good…. I was a very good student, very good. I worked very hard. I really took pains and energy with my research, not just opinions. They have to be based on something.
Hunter O’Hanian: Can you think of an opinion that you had out there in some of your writing that you looked at it years later and thought, “I wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion?”
Linda Nochlin: I’m sure there are.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s so interesting how we develop those opinions based upon what we believe at a given time.
Linda Nochlin: Oddly enough I’ve remained more or less consistent. I’ve added some artists in, subtracted some, but the ones that I like are still the ones that I’m interested in. At least many of the issues that I was committed to, I’m still committed to.
Hunter O’Hanian: What are you working on now?
Linda Nochlin: I’ve just finished a large book called Misère about the representation about misery in the second half of the 19th century in France and England.
Hunter O’Hanian: Wonderful.
Linda Nochlin: That’s at the publisher right now.
Hunter O’Hanian: When should we expect to see it?
Linda Nochlin: In the fall I should think. Thames & Hudson as usual.*
*Update: Misère is slated for release after Spring 2018. 
Hunter O’Hanian: Are you excited about it?
Linda Nochlin: Yeah, I am. I laughingly said to my editor, “Are you going to be able to sell a book called Misère?” He said, “Misère by Linda Nochlin, yes.” It was fascinating, really interesting. It pulls together a lot of things I’ve been interested in all along. It’s both new territory, but based on elements that I’ve been interested in for a long time.
Hunter O’Hanian: Any nuggets that you want to give away from that that come to mind?
Linda Nochlin: Let me think. There’s been relatively little in investigation of the representation of the poor and oppressed. Middle class Impressionism, etc., upper class before that, religious high-minded themes, battles, just the everyday lives of the poor and “uninteresting,” so to speak, not much setting.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting because that seems like a very timely topic for us.
Linda Nochlin: Exactly I thought of that too.
Hunter O’Hanian: As we think of how elections change and how government change and how the education system changes about access, I think it seems.…
Linda Nochlin: Absolutely. It was certainly true in the 19th century, early 20th. I think it’s an interesting book. I hope other people find it interesting.
Hunter O’Hanian: I look forward to seeing it. Thank you so much for allowing us here in your home. It was great to chat with you about these things.
Linda Nochlin: Good.
Hunter O’Hanian: I look forward to seeing you at another CAA event soon I hope.
Linda Nochlin: I hope so.
Hunter O’Hanian: Thank you.
Linda Nochlin: I would love to. Thank you.

Image credit: William Glackens, “Beach, St. Jean de Luz.” 1929, oil on canvas, Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1988.8

CAA welcomes applications and letters of intent for the 2018 Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant and the 2017 Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant.

The Terra Foundation grant provides financial support for the publication of book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art circa 1500–1980. The grant considers submissions covering what is the current-day geographic United States.

The deadline for letters of intent is September 15, 2017.

Awards of up to $15,000 will be made in three distinct categories:

  • Grants to US publishers for manuscripts considering American art in an international context
  • Grants to non-US publishers for manuscripts on topics in American art
  • Grants for the translation of books on topics in American art to or from English.

More information on Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant, including submissions and guidelines.

The Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant supports the publication of books on American art through the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, administered by CAA.

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2017.

For this grant program, “American art” is defined as art created in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Eligible for the grant are book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art, visual studies, and related subjects that have been accepted by a publisher on their merits but cannot be published in the most desirable form without a subsidy. The deadline for the receipt of applications is September 15 of each year.

More information on Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, including submissions and guidelines.

CAA 2018: Los Angeles Travelogue

posted by May 03, 2017

Director of Programs Tiffany Dugan and I just returned from a week in Los Angeles to make plans for CAA’s Annual Conference in 2018.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Scheduled for February 21-24 at the LA Convention Center, the 106th CAA Annual Conference promises to be one of the strongest ever. When the online session submissions portal closed last week, we had more than 800 submissions – one of the largest numbers in recent years. The Annual Conference Committee is reviewing the submissions this month and will be making final selections.

Based on past conference attendance, we anticipate more than 4,000 conference attendees in Los Angeles. We expect to schedule more than 250 sessions and over 200 events, including meetings, receptions, and tours. To house everyone, we secured three principal hotels, all within walking distance of the Convention Center, guaranteeing 6,000 guest nights.

We visited with the staffs and toured the Westin Bonaventure, Millennium Biltmore LA, and JW Marriott. Hotel rooms for the conference will range from $139 to $269 a night, depending on which hotel you select and the type of room you want. The John Portman designed Westin Bonaventure will be our host hotel and has the cool elegance reflecting the beginning of LA’s downtown revival in the mid-1970s. The Biltmore, which opened in 1923, reflects the opulence and beaux-arts style from LA’s golden age as the film industry was in its burgeoning stage. The new, swank JW Marriot is closest to the Convention Center and at the door of all the urban excitement of L.A. Live. All three hotels are within walking distance of the Convention Center.  And the Westin even has a good cup of coffee below $2 in the lobby!

Food trucks in front of the Broad

Near the hotels, we found lots of great restaurants – everything from a hearty breakfast at the Original Pantry Café (which is open 24 hours) to the Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar, Bunker Hill Bar & Grill, Bottega Louie, Eat.Drink.Americano, and Water Grill. Food trucks are on virtually every corner (you have to try the sushi burrito). And there are plenty of artisanal coffee shops as well. In the coming months we will be working on setting up discounts at local restaurants and businesses for our attendees. Our hosts at the LA Convention Center gave us a great tour and we were able to see where the registration area, book and trade fair, and sessions rooms will be. We were able to secure more creature comforts like additional seating between sessions for impromptu conversations, charging stations for phone and laptops, and a quiet room to decompress from the hustle and bustle of the conference.

Getty Center

The Getty Museum, LACMA, and MOCA all opened their doors to us and we had great meetings. Each institution is looking forward to CAA 2018 and is making plans to ensure that your visit is meaningful. We met with leaders at UCLA and USC. In upcoming trips, we will be meeting with leaders at the Norton Simon Museum, The Huntington Library, Hammer Museum, Fisher Museum, and The Broad, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College, and many others.

We also toured other cultural organizations including REDCAT, The Brewery Artist Lofts, Japanese American Museum, Chinese American Museum, 18th Street Arts Center, A+D Architecture and Design Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum and many others. They are looking forward to welcoming CAA members to visit during the conference. We are planning on a day of programing for local LA area artists at the Annual Conference similar to what we did in NYC this year.

Los Angeles Public Library

Colleges and universities interested in holding reunions and receptions at the Annual Conference will also be able to find great spaces for their events. While there are some beautiful rooms available at the CAA hotels, we saw great spaces at the Hilton Checkers (check out the roof top terrace), the LA Public Library (check out the rotunda and courtyards), the gallery district in Chinatown (check out the Charlie James Gallery and A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books), and Hauser & Wirth. There are plenty of galleries in Hollywood and the Arts District, which will be available as well. We will keep adding to this list to create alternative reception options. Since the weather will be mild, there will be plenty of opportunities to sneak away from the Conference Center and check out what LA has to offer.

If you have not been to LA in a while, you will be happy to discover that getting around is easier than ever. While your CAA membership can get you a discount on an Avis rental car, ride sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft are popular and often cost less than $5 per trip between key cultural locations. LA has also been making great progress on its public transportation system as Metro stations are popping up everywhere.

Many thanks to Annual Conference Chair Judith Rodenbeck and CAA Regional Reps John Tain and Neha Choksi, who, along with Anu Vikram and Niku Kashef, made lots of great recommendations. If you have any more ideas of places you would like to see, just let Tiffany or me know.

Finally, we’ve pulled together all the details for the Getty sponsored Pacific Standard Time and will be offering that information in the months to come. You may want to arrive earlier to make sure that you take in as much as you can. President’s Day weekend is just before the Annual Conference. Be sure to watch CAA News for more updates about the conference as we solidify our planning.

Hunter O’Hanian
Executive Director

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CAA Members Win NEH Summer Stipends

posted by April 13, 2017

On March 29, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced funding for 208 humanities projects totaling $21.7 million. These grants include programs that support international collaboration, engage students in interdisciplinary courses, and help veterans.

Among the recipients are the following CAA members, all of whom received a $6,000 Summer Stipend to work on their various research projects:

  • Marie-Stéphanie Delamaire of the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library in Winterthur, Delaware, for “Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia and the Color Printing Revolution: A Translation and Critical Study”
  • Jennifer Germann of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, for “A Study of the Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, an 18th-century British Artwork”
  • Laura Morowitz of Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, for “Art Exhibitions in Vienna, Austria, during the Nazi Occupation”
  • Allie Terry-Fritsch from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, for “Cosimo de’Medici, Fra Angelico, and the Public Library of San Marco”
  • Anne Verplanck of Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg for “The Business of Art: Transforming the Graphic Arts in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

These awards come just weeks after President Donald J. Trump’s administration released a budget proposal calling for the elimination of the NEH, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Education’s international education programs, the Institute for Museums and Library Services, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Our attention now turns to Congress, which can fund these programs despite the administration’s proposals. We have been heartened that these programs—which have been supported by presidents of both parties—have seen growing support in Congress in recent years. Indeed, over the past two years, the Republican-controlled Congresses have supported increases for the NEH.

Filed under: Grants and Fellowships, Membership — Tags:

Art Matters. Art has always mattered. Whether we are art scholars or artists, critics or designers, gallery goers or museum professionals, art matters to all of us a great deal. Equally importantly, art matters – critically –  to the societies in which we live and work. Fifty years ago  this week (February 14,1967) as Aretha Franklin recorded her soon to become hit song, Respect, and Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared to denounce the Vietnam War in an April 4th New York city religious service, Faith Ringgold was creating her celebrated Black Light series, addressing the impact of race riots and other issues of the era. More recently, in 1990 when South African Apartheid finally ended, and Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were released from incarceration, the important work of South African artists – black and white, men and women –in bringing inequality and racism into public view began to be broadly acknowledged. Within the last few weeks, the Museum of Modern Art began a project to rehang works by artists from majority-Muslim nations facing travel bans to this country. Art matters.

As the one hundred and fifth College Art Association’s Annual Conference gets underway, it is imperative that we reflect on these and related art issues, on the close connections between art making and activism and the vital roles that artists, art scholars and other professionals play in tackling critical issues of the day, whether it be war, racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination and ethical derogation. Art Matters. It serves as a vital site not only of engagement and resistance, advocacy and education, problem solving and invention, but also as a vital means of opening up and re-envisioning the world around us. Art matters to us both as individuals and as part of the societies in which we live and work.  In an era of increasing attacks not only on the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, but also on the arts, the importance of CAA as the leading organization that brings together practitioners and scholars within the same broad umbrella is all the more important. CAA offers a unique platform to reengage at the local, national, and international level. The so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are important, but they do not overshadow the arts and humanities. Indeed, throughout history, each has often enhanced the other.

Arts Matter. Yet I have a confession: there was a key moment in my life when I did not feel this. It was the summer after my Freshman year in college at the University of Vermont. I was working in the Senate when one bleak morning I found myself in tears standing in Dupont Circle watching as Bobby Kennedy’s body arrived here in the hearse after his assassination. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot a few months earlier. I returned to college that Fall but concluded soon after that art history and studio art were simply not enough. I quit college at the end of that year to join the Peace Corps. It was here, in Africa, where I first realized politics and art were integrally co-joined. Every book I read on African art was worse than the last. The field needed a correction, art history needed a correction, and after my two-year term ended, I returned home to finish my degree and make plans to attend graduate school with a focus on African art.

CAA then, as today, was a big deal. Elation and genuine fear were my initial emotions when my first CAA paper proposal was accepted– on a politically fraught panel addressing Semiotics and Art chaired by Henri Zerner. Much later we would become colleagues. These kinds of connections are part of what makes CAA so important. For me, a timely Art Bulletin article no doubt helped with tenure. But well before then I felt it was important to engage more formally with CAA  – as much for African Art as anything else. It was for that reason that I ran for the CAA Board of Directors – and years later ran a second time. When I was a graduate student, many still believed that Africa had no arts outside of Egypt, and Egypt itself was part of a strange exo-African nether world somewhere between Mesopotamia and Greece. African art, if it was considered art at all, was assumed to be primitive. CAA for me was where the real political work began, through CAA board connections, I and others persuaded the editor at Abrams to drop the “Primitive Art” chapter from Janson’s best-selling History of Art textbook. In due course, African and African diaspora arts, and those who made and studied them, began reshaping not only art departments around the country, but also exhibitions, major journals, book publications and key prizes within CAA and other organizations. It was CAA that played a central and ongoing role in this.

What had begun for me at CAA as an engagement about my field, soon blossomed into other issues – open access to museum collections in publishing for example. When I was a board member initially, one of our group began to work with the Metropolitan Museum to make their art photographs accessible on the web. This effort continued and on February 7th, one week ago, the Metropolitan announced that all images of public-domain works in the Met collection will now be available under Creative Commons. This is a huge step forward that will benefit us all. So too has been CAA’s path-forging efforts on Fair Use one of our most important and indeed revolutionary undertakings, for which I and others already are seeing considerable savings in terms of finances and time.

Art Matters. CAA members working together have achieved important ends. But we can and must do more. Art access inequality is not the only issue to attend to.  Access to quality higher education is a vital concern for both us and our students, as are questions of student loan fees and affordability, along with the ability of professionals in our field to gain a viable living and secure employment in educational and art-linked institutions. I benefitted from my undergraduate training at a then inexpensive public university; my graduate school education would not have been possible without affordable student loans. I could not have written my Ph.D. without a government funded Fulbright fellowship. For me and many others, book projects would not have been completed without an NEH grant or others at tax supported institutions such as CASVA, the Clark, and the Getty. Museum exhibitions funded by both NEA and NEH are critical to what we do, and these same museums bring in billions of dollars in revenue to local cities and towns.

Art matters. And this is where CAA is critical as an organization, focusing with a new sense of urgency not only on the longstanding programs where we have excelled but also speaking out on core issues that are important to all of us – such as diversity, equal access, and sustainability. Social Activism is a key part of CAA’s Strategic Plan now. As we move forward, changes in CAA that are already underway and will become more evident shortly will help make our organization even stronger and more engaged – from the reenergized annual conference, to a far more dynamic web presence, from larger roles for our affiliated societies, to added benefits that will help members in their professional and personal loves. Art Matters. It matters to us. It matters to the communities and broader societies in which we live and work.

Suzanne Preston Blier

Filed under: Annual Conference — Tags: ,

CAA announces the recipients of the 2017 Awards for Distinction, which honor the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of individual artists, art historians, authors, conservators, curators, and critics whose efforts transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large.

CAA will formally recognize the honorees at a special awards ceremony to be held during Convocation at the 105th Annual Conference in New York, on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 5:30 PM. See the conference website for full details.

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (policeman), 2015, acrylic on PVC panel, 60 x 60 inches, 60 9/16 x 60 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches (framed) © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Among the winners this year is Kerry James Marshall, recipient of the 2017 CAA Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work. In his 35-year career painting and making art, Marshall has depicted the African American experience through a medium that has often overlooked the lives of black Americans. His current retrospective at the Met Breuer, titled “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” (October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017), brings together nearly 80 works by Marshall. Holland Cotter in The New York Times wrote of the show glowingly: “Mr. Marshall has absorbed enough personal history, American history, African-American history and art history to become one of the great history painters of our time.”

Kerry James Marshall biography

Faith Ringgold, the winner of the 2017 CAA Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, is widely considered one of the most influential living African American artists. Born in Harlem in 1930, she is an artist, feminist, activist, and educator who makes use of a variety of media, including painting, quilts, sculpture, performance, and children’s books. Civil Rights, racial justice, feminism, and art history are consistent themes. Ringgold earned BS and MA degrees in art from the City College, the City University of New York, and taught in the NYC public school system for almost twenty years. Since the 1970s Ringgold has been an activist and cofounder of several feminist and antiracist organizations, along with artist Poppy Johnson, art critic Lucy Lippard, and her daughter Michelle Wallace, among others.

Faith Ringgold biography

Full list of 2017 CAA Awards for Distinction recipients

Charles Rufus Morey Book Award
Kishwar Rizvi
The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East
University of North Carolina Press

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award
Ruth Fine, ed.
Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in association with the University of California Press

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions
Carmella Padilla and Barbara Anderson, eds.
A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World
Skira Rizzoli, in association with the Museum of International Folk Art

Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize
Christine I. Ho
The People Eat for Free and the Art of Collective Production in Maoist China”
The Art Bulletin, September 2016

Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism
Laura U. Marks
Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image
MIT Press

Distinguished Feminist Award
Joan Marter

Art Journal Award
Amy A. DaPonte
“Candida Höfer’s Türken in Deutschland as ‘Counter-publicity’”
Art Journal, Winter 2016

Distinguished Teaching of Art Award
Virginia Derryberry

Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award
Patricia Mainardi

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Looking Man), 2016, acrylic on PVC panel, 30 1/2 x 24 1/2 inches, © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work
Kerry James Marshall

Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement
Faith Ringgold

CAA/American Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation
Tom J. S. Learner

Morey and Barr Award Finalists

CAA recognizes the 2017 finalists for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards for their distinctive achievements:

Charles Rufus Morey Book Award Finalists

  • Niall Atkinson, The Noisy Renaissance: Sound, Architecture, and Florentine Urban Life, Pennsylvania State University Press
  • Elizabeth Kindall, Geo-Narratives of a Filial Son: The Paintings and Travel Diaries of Huang Xiangjian (1609–1673), Harvard University Asia Center

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award Finalists

  • Helen Molesworth, ed., Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Skira Rizzoli (honorable mention)
  • Barbara Haskell and Harry Cooper, Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and DelMonico Books
  • Alisa LaGamma, Kongo: Power and Majesty, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Adrian Sudhalter, Dadaglobe Reconstructed, Kunsthaus Zürich and Scheidegger & Spiess

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions Finalists

  • Andreas Marks, ed., Tōkaidō Texts and Tales: Tōkaidō “gojūsan tsui” by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada, University Press of Florida (honorable mention)
  • Zdenka Badovinac, Eda Čufer, and Anthony Gardner, eds., NSK from “Kapital” to Capital: Neue Slowenische Kunst—An Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia, Moderna galerija and MIT Press
  • Geoffrey Batchen, Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and DelMonico Books
  • Valérie Rousseau, Art Brut in America: The Incursion of Jean Dubuffet, American Folk Art Museum

Contact

For more information on the 2017 Awards for Distinction, please contact Tiffany Dugan, CAA director of programs. Visit the Awards section of the CAA website to read about past recipients.

 

As 2016 comes to a close, CAA would like to wish a safe and happy holiday season to its members, subscribers, partners, and other professionals in the visual arts. As we reflect on the past twelve months, the association would like to offer readers a look at the most accessed articles in the weekly CAA News email from the past year.

I Survived My First Year on the Tenure Track, but I’m Ready to Bail!

Now that I’ve survived my first year in a tenure-track position at a small liberal-arts college, all I want to do is curl up in a ball. A nonacademic position is opening up in my hometown. If I got the job, I’d still have adjunct faculty status and be able to supervise grad students. I’d also probably get a 30- to 50-percent salary increase. (Read more from Vitae.)

Advice for the Newly Tenured

I would love to share with you the three biggest mistakes that I observe newly tenured faculty members make. If you know what those mistakes are, then you are not only far less likely to make them, but you also have the opportunity to experiment with new ways of thinking and working that will help you to truly enjoy your tenured status. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

How Many Hours a Week Should Academics Work?

How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)

The Disappearing Humanities Jobs

The arrival of annual reports on the job market in various humanities fields this year left many graduate students depressed about their prospects and professors worried about the futures of their disciplines. This week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released several new collections of data that show that these declines, part of a continuing pattern, are far more dramatic when viewed over a longer time frame. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Publish or Be Damned

The London office of Yale University Press has been a leading publisher of art history in the English language. When we heard of a new book planned by a leading scholar in the field, we expected to learn that Yale had pledged to publish it. When a bright graduate finished his or her dissertation, we hoped that Yale would publish it. (Read more from the Burlington Magazine.)

Racially Charged St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Show Sparks Outrage

Racially charged works at a Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis exhibition have some calling for boycotts and the resignation of the museum’s chief curator. The museum has opted to build walls around the controversial pieces of art. The show will remain up and visitors will have access to all of the work. (Read more from Fox 2 News.)

Learning from My Teaching Mistakes

As a professional failed academic, I get asked if my decisions in graduate school were to blame for my failures. The answer is, of course, yes and no. Similar to anyone else with a PhD who isn’t delusional or lying, my relationship with my doctorate contains multitudes of defeats. And now, six years after I finished, I’ve got some perspective on both what I screwed up and what I didn’t. (Read more from Vitae.)

Syllabus Adjunct Clause

Here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school—and even from department to department—the following may not be universally applicable as written. Therefore, if you decide to use it, make the necessary changes to accurately reflect your own situation. (Read more from School of Doubt.)

When Students Won’t Do the Reading

Is there a more common lament among college instructors than “Why won’t students just do the reading?” It’s an important and difficult question. In my experience, many students understand, at least in the abstract, that the reading is important. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Why You Weren’t Picked

There are two major downsides to not getting that tenure-track job you applied for. The second one is the less obvious but may be the more pernicious in the long run: no one will tell you why you weren’t chosen. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Why Most Academics Will Always Be Bad Writers

For at least a generation, academics have elaborately and publicly denounced the ponderous pedantry of academic prose. So why haven’t these ponderous pedants improved, already? The critics would say the ponderous pedants are doing it on purpose. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Balancing the Books at Yale University Press in London

A letter signed by over 290 academics, curators, and writers expressed a “sense of shock at the restructuring of Yale University Press in London, particularly as it affects the renowned art books department.” Having learned that two commissioning editors were to be made redundant, the signatories asked for reassurance about Yale’s commitment to scholarly art publishing and for the rationale for the changes. (Read more from Apollo.)

How to Be an Unprofessional Artist

No one likes being called an amateur, a dilettante, a dabbler. “Unprofessional” is an easy insult. The professional always makes the right moves, knows the right thing to say, the right name to check. Controlled and measured, the professional never sleeps with the wrong person or drinks too much at the party. (Read more from Momus.)

Make No Mistake, Art History Is a Hard Subject. What’s Soft Is the Decision to Scrap It

In the UK, art history A-level is to be scrapped in 2018. The decision taken by the exam board AQA seems related to the Conservative government’s policy of ranking subjects by perceived relative difficulty, using an analogy of “soft” and “hard” that may be designed to belittle students and teachers who have apparently taken the easy way out. (Read more from Apollo.)

Essential PhD Tips: Ten Articles All Doctoral Students Should Read

If you’re still deciding whether to study for a doctorate, or even if you’re nearing the end of your PhD and are thinking about your next steps, we’ve selected ten articles that you really should take a look at. They cover everything from selecting your topic to securing a top job when your years of hard graft come to an end. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)

How to Become a Curator

Start out as an artist instead. In school, you’re always saddled with organizing the group shows, buying the beer, placating fellow artists’ fears, making the invitations, composing the checklist, finding the funding, contacting the press, inviting the audience. Your entire art practice becomes a smudgy line between curating and art, and you grow to feel strange and unnecessary. (Read more from Momus.)

Donald Trump, Taste, and the Cultural Elite

It’s said that taste defines us. The music I like lets you know, to some degree, what kind of person I am. Yet though this year’s presidential election has raised issues of racism, sexism, and classism, not much has been said about taste, and the role it may or may not have played in getting Donald Trump to the White House. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Black Arts Community Expresses Outrage with Kelley Walker

“This is a mess, and I’m uncomfortable,” said Kat Reynolds as she spoke before the capacity crowd at the Contemporary Art Museum on September 22. The panel of artists and educators—who spoke during the Critical Conversations talk presented by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts—didn’t hold back from voicing their disdain about the art that hung in the very space where the discussion was taking place. (Read more from the St. Louis American.)

What Learning People Really Think about Lecturing

Is there really a war on lecturing going on across higher education? Do learning professionals want to kill the lecture? Read Christine Gross-Loh’s “Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?” and you would be forgiven in thinking that there is and that we do. The problem is that her description of the current climate bears little resemblance to reality. (Read more from Inside Higher Education.)

Gallery Defends Kelley Walker, Artist under Fire in St. Louis Exhibit

The New York City–based gallery representing the artist Kelley Walker has responded to the controversy surrounding a racially charged exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis, but with a statement that raises more questions than it answers. (Read more from Riverfront Times.)

Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?

Despite the increased emphasis in recent years on improving professors’ teaching skills, such training often focuses on incorporating technology or flipping the classroom, rather than on how to give a traditional college lecture. It’s also in part why the lecture—a mainstay of any introductory undergraduate course—is endangered. (Read more from the Atlantic.)

What Happens When a Museum Closes?

Four recently dissolved cultural institutions—the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts—each offer a lesson in how to weather the complex process of closing a museum. (Read more from Artsy.)

Artiquette: Ten Mistakes Not to Make While Promoting Your Art

How do you make it in the art world? It’s a magical formula that involves, talent, drive, grit, and the ability to promote oneself. Unfortunately, talking up your own artwork, projects, and ideas can be a delicate balancing act. To help you walk that line, Artnet News has rounded up a list of mistakes to avoid in self-promotion. (Read more from Artnet News.)

Six Things to Keep in Mind When Applying for Art Grants

With governments cutting funding for the arts, it is getting harder for artists and art institutions to obtain art grants, fellowships, or scholarships. The professional grant writer Ethan Haymovitz has put together a list of things to keep in mind when writing your application. (Read more from Art Report.)

Getting beyond the Anecdote: Research and Art-History Pedagogy

Pedagogical innovations abound in art-history classrooms. National and regional conferences increasingly feature panels of inspirational examples and case studies. These sessions are well attended by instructors eager for new, proven ideas to improve their teaching. The speakers assure this audience of improved student engagement and efficacy at achieving learning outcomes with this or that innovation. But how can they prove it? (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

This Art Historian Teaches FBI Agents and Surgeons How to See

Amy Herman teaches people how to see. Her tools of choice are famous artworks from major art institutions all over the world. Her typical pupils? Cops, FBI officers, medical students, and first responders. Herman teaches a class that helps people fine-tune their observational skills—which often prove critical in solving a crime or conducting open-heart surgery. (Read more from Fast Company.)

Five Strategies Successful Artists Follow to Thrive in Their Careers

As a gallery owner, I’ve been particularly interested in watching the careers of artists who have built strong sales of their work. These artists are able to generate sales that allow them to devote all of their time to their art. They have found ways to make a successful living while at the same time pursuing their passion. (Read more from Red Dot Blog.)

Five Time-Saving Strategies for the Flipped Classroom

I often hear comments like “The flipped classroom takes too much time,” “I don’t have time to devise so many new teaching strategies,” “It takes too much time to record and edit videos,” and “I don’t have time to cover everything on the syllabus.” I also hear “I tried to flip my class, but it was exhausting; so I quit.” If these comments sound familiar, it might be helpful to create margins in your flipped classroom. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

How Do I Get My Foot in the Art World?

I’m a recent grad and want to learn more about the art world, so hopefully, one day, I can work in the arts. I didn’t major in art, but I took several art history and art classes and really loved them. I also love going to galleries and museums. Could you give me some suggestions on how to learn more? (Read more from Burnaway.)

Help Desk: Getting Paid for Curatorial Work

I’m a professional curator with over a decade of experience, mostly as a salaried professional. I’d like to do more freelance work, but curators seem to get paid nothing, absurdly little, or astronomical sums. How can I actually get paid for the work I do? (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Museums Are Keeping a Ton of the World’s Most Famous Art Locked Away in Storage

Most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is in storage. Nearly half of Pablo Picasso’s oil paintings are put away. Not a single Egon Schiele drawing is on display. Since the advent of public galleries in the seventeenth century, museums have amassed huge collections of art for society’s benefit. But just a tiny fraction of that art is actually open for people to view and enjoy. (Read more from Quartz.)

University of Chicago Strikes Back against Campus Political Correctness

The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college staple, but the University of Chicago took a different approach: it sent new students a blunt statement opposing some hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around cyberspace. (Read more from the New York Times.)

On Not Reading

The activity of nonreading is something that scholars rarely discuss. When they—or others whose identities are bound up with books—do so, the discussions tend to have a shamefaced quality. Blame “cultural capital”—the sense of superiority associated with laying claim to books that mark one’s high social status. (Read more from the Chronicle Review.)

Medieval Scots Used Art the Way We Use Social Media

Medieval Scots once gave each other postcard-sized artworks to forge social bonds, in the same way we post pictures on social media today, according to new research. The “postcards on parchment”—whose painted images included patron saints, the Virgin Mary and child, and highly decorated lettering—revealed status, allegiances, and values among the wealthy classes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (Read more from the Scotsman.)

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